Wide Receiver Darius Slayton
Q. When you're going into this season, I'm just kind of wondering where you're at mentally, especially because at this time a year ago, you barely made the roster and didn't get to play against the Cowboys in prime time. Where are you at mentally as a player, and do you feel like you can take another step forward for yourself personally this year?
A: Yeah, I think I'm in a positive place, and I think I've put together a strong camp. I worked really hard this offseason to better myself in any way or shape and form I can, and I plan to try to display that to the best of my ability this season.
Q. Do you think that what you overcame last year at the end of camp and really earning a spot early in the season was a big turning point for your career?
A: I think it was definitely a stroke of adversity. It's definitely something that I had to deal with, something like you said, I had to overcome, but ultimately, it's not somewhere that I hadn't been prior to that and I'm sure, hopefully not again in football, but maybe in some other avenue of life I'll be in a similar predicament. I'm just happy I'm on the other side of it now, and it'll be a good life experience going forward.
Q. When you look at last year versus this year as far as what you think you're surrounded by and the talent level on the team and the roster. When you look at this roster right now and the potential starters on Sunday night is it just a better, more talented team right now than it was last year this time?
A: They had a lot of good football players on last year's team as well to be honest with you, but I definitely think they did a good job of adding talent to our team. There are the obvious guys like (inside linebacker) Bobby Okereke on defense, (safety) Bobby McCain, the veteran safety. Obviously, you know we added the two young corners as well. On offense, we've got (wide receiver) Jalin (Hyatt), (tight end) Darren (Waller), and (running back) Eric Gray. Then (center) John Michael (Schmitz Jr.) whose had a really good camp for us up front, so I think they did a good job of accumulating talent and adding guys that would boost our team.
Q. (Wide receiver) Isaiah (Hodgins) wasn't on the team at this point. You were on the team, but you weren't on the field. You and Isaiah can almost seem like new players as far as opening day from this year to last year. Is that the way you look at it?
A: I hadn't really thought about it until you just said it to be honest, but I mean, yeah. From that standpoint we'd be additions as well as far as week one goes to the team as well.
Q. When you look around the locker room now, does it just have a little bit of a different feel?
A: Yeah, I think so. Anytime you add new personalities, fresh faces there's going to be a little bit of change in the dynamic of the locker room, but it's been positive. Everybody that we've had come in I'd say is a good dude, has been personable, has meshed well with the guys that we already have here.
Q. You obviously still a very young man, but you're a veteran in that room in terms of knowing everything Giants. Do you find teammates, especially the younger ones, including rookies asking you questions?
A: Yeah, from where to live and to where to eat, and how to do these – what are they called? The little side turns.
All that type of stuff but on the football field as well. I do my best to help the young guys in any way I can. I just try to help them; our system is very wordy. Just helping them in anyway (and) try to give them tips and pointers because we were in the same boat last years when (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs first got here. Even though we were veteran players, you're learning a whole new system, so I just do my best to help them any way, shape or form I can, and we have a lot of young smart guys, so they're easy students to help.
Q. Do you find that (wide receiver) Isaiah (Hodgins) is a resource as well, given his history with that offense and everything else?
A: Yeah, technically he's been in it longer than any of us. He can kind of give, sometimes there's things that change that is new to us, that he's like 'well no, we used to do it this way anyways', so he helps give some insight on those types of things for sure.
Q. You lead this team in receiving yards in three of the last four years, would it mean more this year, given it seems like this receiver room is as good as it's ever been?
A: I don't know if it would mean any more than it has in the past. I think my approach is just to make plays when the ball comes my way. You know I've been fortunate that I've been healthy enough and played well enough to lead this team three out of my four years here, but I don't really look at as okay, there is better guys here than there were before, so now if I do this it's more impressive or anything like that. I think it's just my job to go out there and make plays, and I do my best to do that every Sunday.
Q. Does 1,000 yards mean anything to you? Even though you have led three of four, that's a big number. Is that a number that matters to you?
A: I think every receiver would love to be able to say, one day when I retire, I'm old and my knees don't work anymore, you know I can tell my kids I had a 1,000-yard NFL season at one point. It's a nice benchmark to have, but obviously to get there you got to start with game one first, so I just take it one week, one day at a time.
Q. Given what you went through last year, where you started, where you ended up and the fact that you've led the team in three of the last four seasons, was it disappointing at all not to be named a captain or voted a captain? I mean, obviously you are a leader on this team, you don't have to be a captain to be leader. Was it disappointing at all not to get that recognition?
A: I don't really know if I would say disappointing. At the end of the day, it's something that's voted as a team, and I think that all the guys that we have that were elected as captains, deserve to be captains. I can't really say that I was necessarily disappointed. Like you said, I try to lead in whatever way I can, and you know, if my teammates ever feel the need to vote me in another year or something like that, I'll be grateful to accept that.
Q. With you guys moving now to a game week, what kind of advice do you give to the younger guys? How does it change your approach, your preparation, now that really the preseason is behind you? I'm just curious from a tip's standpoint, a preparation standpoint, is this much more what you want to be doing on a week-to-week basis rather than what you have gone through the last six weeks?
A: I think the biggest thing is there's just a different level of urgency, (and) a different level of attention to detail. During camp, especially for rookies, you're learning, so it's not the end of the world if on Tuesday, August 22nd in camp you mess up a play. It's like whatever, and at the end of the day, it's just practice, but when a game comes you can't have small miscues and things like that against good teams in this league and expect to win. That's probably the main thing that I try to impress upon them is that this is a different level of intensity, different level of urgency, and you have got to focus, and be on top of your assignments and be ready for the game.